News

Building fee increase is meant to cover actual cost of providing service

By Jennifer Vandermeer, Norwich Gazette/IngersollTimes

Norwich Township Crest

Norwich Township Crest

The cost of building in Norwich Township has gone up with the increase in fees for services from the building department.

At its Aug. 8 meeting, council approved an amendment to the fee schedule based on a review and report prepared by Chief Building Official Brad Smale. During that council meeting, a public meeting was held to allow for input into the proposed changes.

Chief Administrative Officer Kyle Kruger said no one attended the public meeting to speak to the changes, but someone who was at the council meeting on another matter did comment that the proposed increases could impact local building activity.

Kruger said the new fees, which are now in effect, are competitive with other area municipalities.

“A direct comparison is difficult because everyone has a different system, but overall we feel they remain competitive,” said Kruger.

The township hasn't changed its building fees in 15 years, according to Smale's review, which has caused them to become out of date. He recommends a fee review every four or five years.

A review of the building permit fees was completed in late June and in his report to council following that review, Smale said the proposed changes to the permit fees “represent a much-needed updating of the current fees structure and rates, and are in the general interest of the community in Norwich.”

The increases are meant to cover the actual expenses related to operating the building department as well as create a cost stabilization reserve to help balance fluctuations in the amount of local development and the costs of the building department.

“Excess revenue generated in busy years (such as this one) are set aside in this reserve so that they can be drawn upon in lean years in order to lessen the impact upon the township's costs and budgeting processes,” Smale stated in his report.

In a summary of the major changes in how the fees are charged, Smale outlines that a fee will be charged up front with the submission of the building permit application in order to recover administration costs whether the permit is issued or not. Other major changes outlined include a surcharge equal to 10 per cent of a permit's base fee will be implemented to go toward the rate stabilization reserve; and the method of calculating the permit fee is changed to include the base fee plus a cost per square footage.

The proposed fee schedule includes the fees for all types of residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial and institutional building as well as miscellaneous permits such as demolition or inspection fees.